1. A Powerful Antioxidant
Saffron contains an impressive variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants — molecules that protect your cells against free radicals and oxidative stress.
Notable saffron antioxidants include crocin, crocetin, safranal, and kaempferol (2Trusted Source).
Crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments and responsible for saffron’s red color. Both compounds may have antidepressant properties, protect brain cells against progressive damage, improve inflammation, reduce appetite, and aid weight loss
2. Cancer-Fighting Properties
Saffron is high in antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals. Free radical damage has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer (11Trusted Source).
In test-tube studies, saffron and its compounds have been shown to selectively kill colon cancer cells or suppress their growth, while leaving normal cells unharmed (12Trusted Source).
This effect also applies to skin, bone marrow, prostate, lung, breast, cervix, and several other cancer cells (13Trusted Source).
What’s more, test-tube studies have found that crocin — the main antioxidant in saffron — may make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs (14Trusted Source). While these findings from test-tube studies are promising, the anticancer effects of saffron are poorly studied in humans, and more research is needed.
3.Saffron Improves Vision in Aging Humans
Recent clinical studies show patients supplementing with a flower-derived spice experienced significant vision improvement as measured by seeing an average of two additional lines on the eye chart used by ophthalmologists to test vision.
4. Enhance Immunity
Saffron is rich in carotenoids that seem to impact immunity. A study done on healthy men showed that daily use of saffron (about 100 mg) could have temporary immunomodulatory effects without any adverse reactions (15).
5.Improve Heart Health
Saffron helps reduce the risk of heart disease by strengthening the circulatory system. The spice is rich in thiamin and riboflavin, and these promote a healthy heart and help prevent various cardiac issues (17).
Due to its antioxidant properties, saffron helps maintain healthy arteries and blood vessels. The spice’s anti-inflammatory properties also benefit the heart. The crocetin in the spice indirectly regulates blood cholesterol levels and reduces the severity of atherosclerosis (17).